Adapt to changing needs of customers – Jumia’s chief

Monday April 20 2020

Barbara Kabarihira, a deliver rider at Jumia prepares to make deliveries. Jumia has advanced from a convenient to a necessity service provider following the coronavirus pandemic. FILE PHOTO

Unlike other businesses bearing the brunt of the lockdown, Jumia on the other hand, must be making some good cash through online deliveries. On average, what is your daily volume of transactions?
Globally and in Uganda, we see that customers are looking to online home delivery as a solution to help them to stay at home and stay safe. However, because no one knows the full impact of Corona yet, it is too early to comment on the trajectory and how consumers will adjust their buying habits. We are adapting our business to suit the needs of our customers who now more than ever, need basic essentials rather than phones, televisions and appliances.
Share your experience in handling the online business during the lockdown.

At Jumia, our primary concern has been the health and well-being of our teammates, consumers, partners and communities. We have taken precautionary measurements internally and externally and made contingency plans that we shall continue to assess as the situation changes in each market.

We are committed to the highest possible hygiene standards and implementing some additional changes to our daily operations and delivery services to ensure the safest experience.

These include but are not limited to: checking employees’ body temperatures, sanitising facilities and surfaces, using masks and gloves while handling and delivering your orders and encouraging using cashless online payments than cash payments, when possible.

How has the online business grown?
Online business is on a rapid rise. Customers are using platforms like Jumia to save time and money. 90 percent of customers who use Jumia recommend us to their friends and family.
However, e-commerce has a long way to go to reach the heights in Europe, China and USA.
Only 1 per cent of transactions happen online versus the 20 per cent transactions that happen in China, for example.

What are some of the lessons from the lockdown and what would you advise businesses that have not embraced the Fourth Industrial Revolution?


To survive in this crisis, businesses must be creative and innovative to mitigate the coronavirus’ economic disruptions on the business. My advice to businesses that have not embraced the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that the time is now for them to adapt their commercial offer to suit the changing needs of customers. Secondly, businesses should reduce their cash burn, and most important is to keep their teams safe.

Which are some of the unique challenges you have encountered while handling or doing business in a lockdown?
Our biggest challenge is the additional costs to operate our over 300 motor bikes which are currently doing the door-to-door deliveries and our fleet of 50 vehicle in this environment. Secondly, providing safety equipment to our entire network has been burdensome.

And internet to work from home is a huge burden for many companies at a time where many companies have lost revenues.

Uganda’s leading imports source – China - locked much of the world first and other source countries followed. How has this impacted your supplies/orders?

A disruption in global supply chains as a result of factory closures in China has had a negative impact on small and medium companies in Uganda – many who sell on Jumia. The main imports affected from China are textiles and apparels, and electronics.